Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis by Richard BuxtonForms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis by Richard Buxton

Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis

byRichard Buxton

Paperback | December 2, 2017

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In this illustrated study Richard Buxton analyses Greek literary narratives and visual representations of the metamorphosis of humans and gods, as evidenced from Homer to Nonnos. Such tales have become familiar in their Ovidian dress, as in the best-selling translation by Ted Hughes; Buxtonexplores their Greek antecedents. He investigates such issues as: How do different contexts shape the way in which metamorphosis is narrated? How do the assumptions of commentators about "strangeness" affect how metamorphosis is interpreted? How far should an interpreter allow "contextual charity"to render more acceptable a belief such as that in metamorphosis? What are the implications of the notions of "astonishment" (Greek: thambos) in a range of narratives about transformation?Throughout Forms of Astonishment Buxton draws comparisons between the Greek evidence and data from other religious traditions, ancient and modern; he also introduces comparative material from the sciences, from modern painting and literature, and from the cinema and computer graphics. Ininvestigating metamorphoses of gods Buxton revisits the concept of anthropomorphism, arguing that the fact that Greek divinities were believed to change shape does not undermine the fundamentally humanlike form of Greek divinity. He also examines certain strands of Greek tradition, particularlyamong the philosophers, which called metamorphosis into question, whether in relation to the gods or to humans. Individual chapters deal with transformations into the landscape and into plants or trees--in the latter case transformation stories are set against a background of cultural beliefs about'seminal' substances such as blood and tears. Overall, Forms of Astonishment raises issues relevant to an understanding of broad aspects of Greek culture, and illuminates issues explored by anthropologists and students of religion.
Richard Buxton is Emeritus Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Bristol.
Title:Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of MetamorphosisFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0 inPublished:December 2, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198706995

ISBN - 13:9780198706991

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Narratives and Their Contexts1. The Odyssey2. Athenian Drama3. Visual Arts4. Hellenistic Transformations5. Post-Hellenistic Narratives2. The Logic of Transformation6. Shapes of the Gods7. The Human Aetiology of Landscape8. Plants, Trees, and Human Form9. Challenges to the Metamorphic Tradition10. Final Thoughts on ContextsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Oxford University Press has produced an admirable book, complete with an exhaustive index. Forms of Astonishment provides an intellectually stimulating experience; it is a joy to read. Buxton is to be congratulated for an astonishing book that will be consulted for many years to come." --Eirene: Studia Graeca et Latina 04/10/2012